How did TMP get a G rating?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by t_smitts, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Overall, I really admire TMP (especially the director's cut) although I realize it's not a crowd-pleaser the way Khan is. I think the reason it may have grossed the most (besides home video not being around back then) was the decade long pent-up demand for Trek to return from the dead. Same deal with Star Wars Episode I (although TMP is a far better movie than that piece of crap). I also think had Khan not had so much competition from things like E.T. and Poltergeist it would have made more money.

    As far as the NET profit, TMP can't have been the best ROI for the studio because it cost the most (outside of Nemesis I guess). It's just that the investment was clearly paid back in reusing the models and sets over time in the sequels (and TNG for that matter). I remember reading an article in Starlog magazine after TMP with a news report indicating that a future Trek movie was "doubtful" due to the disappointing returns of TMP, so it's all about ROI, not grosses.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Except the claims about TMP's huge budget are largely creative accounting, because Paramount folded in the costs of all the prior, aborted film and TV-revival efforts. Count just the cost of production for TMP itself -- and, okay, for Phase II, since that was more directly connected to the production than stuff like Planet of the Titans -- and the figures aren't so high.
     
  3. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Obviously, the cost of the aborted productions figure in the high number, but the film was also very expensive for other reasons -- it was months behind schedule, which cost a pretty penny, and when the Abel effects didn't turn out, Paramount had to shell out a lot of extra overtime cash just to make the release date.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Exactly. Ninety percent of movies made before 1960 or so, including most musicals, comedies, adventure films, and so on, would be considered G-rated in that they didn't contain any questionable sex or violence or adult content.

    When it came to scifi, TMP would be considered family-friendly compared to, say, the likes of WESTWORLD (robot prostitutes, massacres and violence), PLANET OF THE APES (blood, violence, and nudity), LOGAN'S RUN (sex, nudity), THE OMEGA MAN, SOYLENT GREEN, ROLLERBALL, and other films of the era.

    STAR WARS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS had somewhat reversed that trend by demonstrating the box office potential of more family-friendly sf.
     
  5. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    I thought about that too but as you pointed out there's several Damns and Hells used in TMP where there's only one of each in The Black Hole, so obviously there's more to the rating than language.
     
  6. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Well, Anthony Perkins gets skewered by a corkscrew, as I recall, which was probably violent enough to get them that PG-rating . . ..
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Although that was largely due to the Hays Code, which pretty much forced all movies to be suitable for family viewing. The MPAA rating system was instituted in the late '60s as a replacement for the Code, one that would allow for more adult movies to be made so long as they were labelled appropriately. A lot of movies made before the Code, in the '30s, could get a lot more adult.
     
  8. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I briefly met Robert Wise at a sf convention many, many years ago. I remember him complaining that a big percentage of his budget had been spent before he even signed on to direct the movie.
     
  9. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    It was hidden behind papers though and there was no blood, unlike Star Trek VI where there was the was threat of an "R" just for the floating blood during the assassination scene.
     
  10. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    It's worth pointing out that the Production Code Administration did exist from 1930-1934. "Pre-code," somewhat confusingly, doesn't mean that the Code didn't exist -- it just wasn't as rigorously enforced during that four year period as it would be afterwards. There were still censors and movies couldn't get close to where they are today in terms of sex and violence.
     
  11. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Most stations played it in early prime time, five nights per week. How is that not targeting that demographic?

    As I said, TMP wasn't aimed at kids, but it had to allow for whole families to attend. Gene Roddenberry said as much in a Lincoln Enterprises' newsletter, IIRC.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I assume he's talking about the original intent of the show's makers, not the intent of the people who scheduled its reruns.
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, home video was around, even in Australia. ST:TMP was one of my very first Betamax purchases in early 1981. Its US release on home video was October 1980.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think TMP is a film that's more impressive on the big screen than the small. It's such a cinematic experience, built around these big immersive visual/musical set pieces, and on the big screen that might've been enough to satisfy and intrigue audiences despite the weaknesses of the story, whereas on the small screen it wouldn't have had the same impact -- especially with the film-to-video transfer technology of the time that washed out the colors and made it look much more drab.
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, but the Australian PAL video version was... magnificent! More vibrant than the US NTSC version.
     
  16. mb22

    mb22 Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree with the end of your statement, but I remember quite distinctly that by the mid-1970s (and certainly by 1979) the G rating was almost always used either for Disney and other kid oriented movies, or revivals of older films (like Gone With the Wind). Even E.T. (released in '82) was given some off color dialogue to insure a PG, so not to scare off teenagers adverse to 'baby stuff'. The period when the G and X ratings were neutral was the late 1960s and early 1970s, hence serious films like Midnight Cowboy and Clockwork Orange getting X's. By the late 70s, the X rating (as well as the unofficial 'XXX') was reserved for pornography (most of which weren't even submitted to the MPAA for rating).
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Hmm, on second thought, I guess you're right. Now that I reflect on it, I remember that there was some controversy among the fans about TMP being saddled with a G rating, since it gave the impression that Paramount wasn't taking the film seriously enough. I'm surprised I forgot that.

    Still, as discussed above, even in the late '70s there were still G-rated films with content that would never get in a G-rated film today, like Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. So the G rating was at least still somewhat broader then than it is today.
     
  18. mb22

    mb22 Commander Red Shirt

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    IMHO, the introduction of the PG-13 rating in 1984 shifted the PG rating closer to G.
     
  19. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    Lucas was worried ANH getting a G rating would make the movie look uncool to teens, so he put in the burned bodies of Luke's uncle and aunt to get a PG rating.
     
  20. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I don't have the book in front of me, but I believe J.W. Rinzler's The Making of Star Wars says the rating was the studio's decision (Fox). It was them, not Lucas, that ensured the PG-rating from the MPAA. Anyone who has the book care to check?
     

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